Introducing New Lewisham Selective Licensing Services

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New Selective Licensing Scheme Services for Landlords in Lewisham

Jennings & Barrett are launching a new Selective Licensing service in preparation for the new Lewisham Selective Licensing Scheme launching 1 July 2024. The service builds on our previous experience in Lettings Management in Selective Licensing Scheme Boundaries.

The scheme covers nearly all rental properties within the Lewisham borough. It is an addition to the existing HMO licensing scheme.

Jennings & Barrett’s new service, which is an extension to existing Lettings Management services, helps to protect Landlords with properties in the Lewisham borough from potential fines and criminal charges. Jennings & Barrett will begin the process of license procurement for relevant clients when the application portal opens on 20th May 2024.

Lettings Management Within Lewisham’s Selective Licencing Scheme: What is different?

Under the scheme, rental properties and Landlords in Lewisham are held to new, higher standards. Lettings Management in Selective Licensing Scheme Boundaries comes with additional regulation and monitoring in accordance with scheme conditions.

In addition to the usual responsibilities and legalities by which Landlords and Letting Agents must comply, Lewisham Selective Scheme License Holders are accountable for increased responsibilities regarding:

  • Property occupation
  • Tenant health and safety
  • Tenancy management and compliance, including anti-social behaviour (ASB)
  • Property management and compliance
  • Refuse and waste management
  • Council and tenant communications
  • Record keeping and the level of detail required across all paperwork and contracts.

One example of the increased lettings management responsibility concerns PAT (Portable Appliance Testing). Although there is no national legal requirement for PAT testing for rental properties, the new License requires yearly tests, with records kept for the duration of the license. A Portable Appliance is any appliance with a plug. It includes large items such as fridges and washing machines, as well as small items such as kettles and toasters. Similar increased responsibilities regard inventory management of alarms, communication and monitoring of waste and recycling, and additional pre-emptive work around anti-social behaviour (ASB).

A plug shows a black PAT label. The label is white and green, with the words "tested for electrical safety", with room for date, initials and re-test date. Under the Lewisham Selective Licensing Scheme, PAT testing will be required yearly.
An example of a PAT label for tested appliances. Under the Lewisham Selective Licensing Scheme, PAT testing will be required yearly, creating more responsibilities for Lettings Management.

If a landlord rents out a property without a license or if a License Holder fails to comply with the conditions of the license, the consequences could be severe. According to the Lewisham Council website, these consequences could be:

  • Conviction of a criminal offence
  • Fines from criminal conviction
  • The issuing of Civil Penalty Notices up to £30,000 per breach
  • Revocation of the license.

A criminal conviction would impact a license holder’s status to hold any property license.

Sales & Lettings Manager, Katie Shaw, says:

“Jennings & Barrett have always strived to provide a Lettings Management service that benefits both Landlords and Tenants. We want to support Landlords in providing good homes for tenants, whilst protecting their investments. By keeping a property well maintained and in good order, Landlords can gain the security of loyal and consistent tenants who treat the property appropriately.

Our Lettings Management service has been designed according to guidelines set by ARLA/Propertymark and the relevant Housing and Landlord Tenant Acts. We’ve also previously dealt with licenses for rental properties under other councils, such as Bexley Council’s scheme between 2018 – 2023.

Lewisham’s new scheme goes further than the previous schemes, Propertymark guidelines and current Acts. Going forward, these license conditions will likely represent a new standard for both Landlords and Rental Properties.”

Once granted, a Selective License within this scheme will last five years. It is not transferrable to new license holders. If a landlord were to purchase any additional rental properties within the Selective Scheme area, they would be required to buy additional licenses for each property.

 

Will the Scheme benefit Lewisham?

Selective Licensing Schemes can introduce selective licensing of privately rented homes to tackle problems such as:

  • A high level of ASB
  • Poor housing conditions
  • High levels of migration and/or deprivation
  • High levels of crime.

It’s unclear whether these new conditions will help London’s housing crisis. The increased level of responsibility will increase costs for Lettings Managers and Landlords, making them wary of providing furnishings such as white goods. This then indirectly increases the cost of renting and moving for tenants, as they may have to purchase goods such as washing machines and ovens, often included in a rental property.

Joanna Bould, Director of Jennings & Barrett, says:

“As a business, we aim to provide quality housing for locals by partnering with private-sector Landlords. We require our Landlords to maintain their property and encourage them to allow us to act quickly when remedial actions are needed. As a result, we help Landlords find loyal and appropriate tenants.

Whilst we welcome higher standards for rental properties across the board, there is a risk that the new standards indirectly punish both good tenants and good Landlords for the actions of a few bad ones.

We will continue to advise our Landlords with the most appropriate advice for protecting their investments. In the future, we want to encourage councils to practice some restraint with the conditions of these licenses to prevent pushing private sector Landlords away from the market.”

Find Out More From Lewisham Council

More details about the scheme can be found on the Lewisham Council website. For a full list of the current conditions, please view the Overview page for Selective Licensing here. In March 2024, Lewisham Council delegates confirmed to Jennings & Barrett that the conditions within this document were the conditions of the License.

Fees

Please see the below table for the admin fees for existing clients with properties in the Lewisham Selective Licensing area. Please note that if you are not a Fully Managed client, Jennings & Barrett cannot accept responsibility to be the license holder for your property, but we can assist with the initial application process.

Fully Managed
£250Per License
Rent Collection
£320.00Per License
Let Only
£350.00Per License

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If you’re a Landlord with a property in Lewisham, let us protect you from unlimited fines and help you maintain your property portfolio without effort.